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Some of us have the strange need to grease the skids toward our doom by climate. Bill Nye describes his experiences with these fools.
Oh hey, extra bonus – how to convince a republican about AGW.
We are on course to have a ice-free arctic during the summer months. This is yet another indicator of traumatic warming of our world due in part to our activities and policies. The climate is changing rapidly and a new dynamic equilibrium is being established.
“Waves rearing as high as the second-floor windows of a building have been detected in the Beaufort Sea for the first time.
Arctic waves are normally kept in check by sea ice, which has traditionally covered large areas of the Arctic Ocean even in the summer. But warmer temperatures as a result of climate change are melting away more and more of that ice.
A wave gauge deployed in the Beaufort Sea in the western Arctic in 2012 has already measured some of the consequences, recording wave heights of almost five metres during a September storm.”
Daaaamn, waves in the Arctic Ocean – here is the bit on the positive feedback loop being established.
“Those waves, in turn, may gain enough power to smash away more sea ice, generating a “feedback mechanism which drives the Arctic system toward an ice-free summer,” they wrote in their paper.
In his blog post on the website of the American Geophysical Union, Thomson added, “Bigger, more powerful waves could also accelerate erosion of the Arctic Ocean coasts, which are already breaking down rapidly from the effects of climate change and melting of permafrost.”
The stories about the changing climate are often mixed in with stories about companies contemplating the new shipping routes that will become available and the resources that can be exploited once the ice is gone.”
The gradual nature of AGW is the perfect villain in this situation precisely because of our human tendencies toward short-term thinking.
Short term thinking will be the end of us.
I was excited. I was hopeful. I very much wanted it to be true. But I’m not at all surprised (a bit depressed though) that solar roadways are a bad idea. Three main categories of problems have been illustrated by many.
One is cost. This one is tough as the solar roadway people haven’t been all that forthcoming on how much each panel might be, but estimates based on what little we do know show roadways costing somewhere between 20 and 56 trillion dollars.
Two is solar efficiency. Solar panels are angled to best capture sunlight, the really good ones tilt to follow the sun. Lying flat on the road is just a bad place to collect solar energy. And as everything these roads are supposed to do is based on them collecting massive amounts of solar energy, this is a huge problem.
Three is durability. Rock erodes glass. Rock being ground in by untold tonnes of traffic erode glass fast. Those super expensive modules wouldn’t last too long.
And these are only very brief summations of entire categories of problems that have been pointed out about the roadways.
Now, if the solar roadway people are earnest in their efforts (and I have no reason to suspect they aren’t) they now have over 2 million dollars to get this idea as far as it can possibly go. While that won’t be a fraction of how far they envisioned or how far I had hoped, they should be able to learn something. Whatever they find, doubtless there is an easier and cheaper way we could be learning it, but as is so often the case, we’re doing it the hard way. Salvage what we can and move on.
If nothing else, more people are thinking about roadway improvements, which is a good thing. Someone will look back at this and think, “Boy, that was a horrible idea, the REAL way to improve roads is by…” and they will probably be wrong too. But they will be slightly less wrong. So plods on progress.
Never say we don’t care about your intellectual development here at DWR:
See, you’re more knowledgeable already. You’re welcome. :)
Creationist: *argle-bargle* – “Science said this!”, trots out gross caricature of scientific theory. “It is ‘just a theory!” – More *argle-bargle*.
Rational People: … *heavy sigh*
And then…the slapdown.
You are entitled to your opinion, but never entitled to the facts.
Another reason why we need more science and not less in the world. Where smoking has been accurately depicted as hazardous to your health and society the rate goes down. Other places, not so much.
This is what we get for not changing the system that is killing us – a half-assed, piecemeal romp toward oblivion.
“Richard Smith, in a tour de force paper published in the Real-World Economics Review, “Green capitalism: the god that failed,” summed up the dilemma:
“[T]he problem is not just special interests, lobbyists and corruption. … [Under] capitalism, it is, perversely, in the general interest, in everyone’s immediate interests to do all we can to maximize growth right now, therefore, unavoidably, to maximize fossil fuel consumption right now — because practically every job in the country is, in one way or another, dependent upon fossil fuel consumption. … There is no way to cut CO2 emissions by anything like 80 percent without imposing drastic cuts across the board in industrial production. But since we live under capitalism, not socialism, no one is promising new jobs to all those … whose jobs would be at risk if fossil fuel use were really seriously curtailed. … Given capitalism, they have little choice but to focus on the short-term, to prioritize saving their jobs in the here and now to feed their kids today — and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.” [page 121, March 2011]
“Green” enterprises will not be granted an exemption. They, too, will be pushed by market forces the same as any other enterprise. Dr. Smith writes:
“Biofuels, windpower and organic crops — all might be environmentally rational here or there, but not necessarily in every case or forever. But once investments are sunk, green industries have no choice but to seek to maximize profits and grow forever regardless of social need and scientific rationality, just like any other for-profit business.” [page 142]
All the more is that so for the capitalist system as a whole. Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster, in their book What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism, write:
“ ‘Green capitalism,’ even if products are produced using the utmost environmental care and designed for easy reuse, offers no way out of a system that must expand exponentially and thus continue to ratchet up its use of natural resources, its chemical pollution, its contaminated sewage sludge, its garbage, and its many other toxic substances. Some of these ‘fixes’ will probably slow down the rate of environmental destruction, but the magnitude of the needed changes dwarfs these approaches.” [page 120]“